Colombo International Airport Ratmalana, Sri Lanka’s first and oldest airport, resumed operations on Sunday. The first flight landing, which came in after over five decades, was from the Maldives. By Eshita Srinivas
Sri Lanka houses over 22 airports, with the main one being the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, located about 30 kilometres north of the country’s capital Colombo. However, the island nation’s oldest airport and the only one it had for a considerable amount of time was the Colombo International Airport Ratmalana. The airport recently re-commenced its scheduled international regional flight operations after five decades.
Sri Lanka’s oldest international airport was converted into a domestic airport in the 60s
Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana (CIAR) re-commenced its scheduled international regional flight operations from CIAR after five decades.
— Colombo International Airport Ratmalana (@CIAR_SriLanka) March 27, 2022
Established in 1935, Colombo International Airport Ratmalana is 14 kilometres from the capital city, Colombo. It was the only international airport in the island nation until the Bandaranaike International Airport was commissioned in the 60s, a news report by The Tribune states. Post this, it was converted into a domestic airport and oversaw aviation training, the operations of commercial and private aircrafts, and Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) missions, amongst others.
Most recently, it was relaunched for scheduled international regional flight operations after 54 years. The national carrier of the Maldives did the honours, introducing a route between the two island nations. The 50-seater Maldivian flight is set to operate three flights a week, which will later be expanded to five days a week from May 2022, officials stated as per a report by the Hindustan Times.
Passengers, as per the official statement by the airport, were welcomed upon arrival with a water cannon salute and presented with gift packs from the Sri Lanka Tea Board. This was followed by a traditional Kandyan dance performance.
Image: Colombo International Airport Ratmalana